SEO for Lawyers: Get Local and Gain Clients (Part I)

When someone in your area searches online for an attorney, you want your site to show up.Optimizing your site to rank well in the search engines (search engine optimization [SEO]) can be a time-consuming process. However, as a local professional, you have the chance to show up in local search results for some phrases, such as “St. Louis criminal defense lawyer” or “Seattle divorce attorney”.

Below is my first tip on how to show up in local search results, complete with step-by-step instructions.

Create a [Free] Google Places Business Directory

Set up a Places page the search engines notice:

  1. Go to the Google Places business page and sign in with your business Gmail:
  2. See if you’re business is already listed. Then “Edit” or “Add a new listing”, as appropriate.
  3. Complete every field. Incomplete profiles typically don’t rank well. Keep these tips in mind:
    • Make sure your address and phone number is correct. This contact information should be consistent across the web. This is becoming increasingly important to ranking well in local search.
    • Write a business description of at least 175 characters. Include words that you want to show up on Google for. (Example for an Atlanta personal injury firm: “Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers handle many lawsuits, including car accidents, workers comp, medical malpractice, and more. How much is your case worth? Free consultation with a Georgia attorney.”)
    • Add multiple categories (at least three, no more than eight) and create your own custom categories. (Examples: “attorney, personal injury attorney, car accident lawyer, law firm, police brutality attorneys”)
    • Add photos and videos. Not only does Google like this, but you’ll build trust with the visitors to your Places Page.
    • Add at least three “Additional Details” and include keywords. (For example: Workers Compensation? Yes.; Free Injury Case Evaluation? Yes.)
  4. Claim and activate your listing by instantly confirming your phone number with Google.
  5. Ask clients to review your firm on Yelp or directly on the Places page. Google appears to favor sites that receive regular reviews. (Warning: don’t write your own reviews. Google may penalize websites who manipulate reviews.)
  6. Update your Places page at least every two weeks with new photos or videos.

This is just the first step toward building your local search rankings. In my next post, I’ll talk about writing for a local audience and drawing local links as a way of building your local rankings and your local audience.

Interested in more marketing tips for attorneys? Check out the Attorney Blog.